Marcy Holder joins Kathleen for a lively discussion on what happens when women are overwhelmed with the issues of life. Marcy is a Spiritually-Focused Personal Coach. In January, Marcy is hosting a four-week growth opportunity for women drowning in the details their lives who want to love their people well and live from a place of purpose but experience anger and anxiety they just can’t seem to shake, symptoms of heart disconnection. Grab a cup of coffee and join us!
In Heart Connection 101 you’ll learn how to cultivate growth and deepen your faith by connecting with your heart. *****************************
My own journey to connecting with my heart helped me sort through emotional and religious baggage that kept me from loving my people well and living a life of purpose. *****************************
Every Friday in January, I’ll send you a video sharing examples and principles that helped me reconnect with my heart. You’ll also receive printable materials for reading and personal reflection. I’ll be available for email support or you’re welcome to work through the material privately. On January 30th @ 7:00 we’ll do a group wrap-up zoom call. You’ll also receive several fun printables and a playlist to encourage your journey. ***************************
I’d invite you to message me with questions or more details.
Life can be overwhelming, busy, and messy but when it comes to choosing, Relationships Matter and Lists can Wait. Our relationships with both God and the people we love most become healthier and more rewarding when we’re connected to our hearts. ************************** You can find more info and sign up here!
When dad came to pick us kids up for summer visitation, the departure was swift.We packed our bags in the trunk of his car and rushed down the lane, leaving a trail of dust behind us, Mom growing smaller in the distance.
This is the moment that fear gripped me. The familiar faded away, and the unknown lay before me. The tense anxiety choked me while my stomach churned.
Down the highway we sped to another unknown destination. Dad rarely bothered to sit down and explain where we were going and what it would be like this time. The landscape changed from the hills of West Virginia to the bluegrass of Kentucky or the plains of Iowa, where we once raced beside a tornado as it ate up the fields beside us.
Every year, it was a new home in a new state. And every year, it was the same unstable summer, with our travel and activities dictated by someone else’s moodiness or alcoholism. New places did not fill me with hope. They were foreign landscapes with no known retreats or safe hideaways from the too-familiar emotional climate.
The unrest filtered down to me and cemented my fear and presupposition: “There is nothing good in the world.“
My past gave me a faulty picture of the world. Even today, I struggle with sitting in the backseat of a car. I need to know where we are going on a trip. I don’t just want the directions — I want to see the map.
My early life sometimes still dictates my now. I know that, and I have strategies to deal with it. My friends know, so they let me sit in the front or drive. It took me years to figure out why I didn’t like to sit in the back seat or why panic rose up in me. Knowing the why helps me deal with it.
Our adopted children don’t know the why or the how. They see through the lens of their past, and it is like an old camera. The view is scratched and distorted, and they may blame us, the adoptive parents, for it. Can you imagine if I went on a road trip with my friends and blamed them for my fear of riding in the back seat?
But children have a difficult time separating their past from their now.
If they could, our adopted children might say:
You are not responsible for the trauma that happened to me before I came into your family, but I will act like it. If you let guilt rule the home, we will both be miserable, and neither of us will experience any healing.
Separating our children’s past from their now is a difficult aspect of adoption. We parents must be the mature ones and not let their reactions to past events determine our reactions to current events. If we do react negatively, then we will live in a constant state of civil war, and more wounds will be inflicted. No healing will take place, and the child will be orphaned (rejected) twice.
I don’t have my reactions mastered. I wish I did. I am writing this because my daughter Audrey says I should share things that I wish someone would have told me. I wish someone had told me this: Many of us who have the heart for adoption — especially the desire to adopt a large sibling group of children — have had a troubled past ourselves. The desire directs us to adopt, but it doesn’t equip us. We must equip and educate ourselves.
No one told me that my past and my adopted children’s pasts would engage in a tug of war to the death.
We both had a faulty lens on our camera. Guess who had to change hers first? Me. Guess who had to die? Me. My flesh. Guess who messed up, often? Me.
We assume that wrestling with the child means a physical fight, and if we are not careful, that is what it becomes. Daily. And there is no healing that way.
Consider Ephesians 6:12 —
For we are not wrestling with fleshandblood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
I have always loved this verse. It sounds so mystical, mysterious. We aren’t supposed to engage in a fight with physical opponents, so how do we fight these master spirits who are the rulers of this present darkness? Ephesians 6:11 commands us to put on our armor so that we will be able to stand up against the strategies and deceits of the devil. This is war!
Adoption is war — a spiritual battle. We are not fighting with a physical sword, though. Our sword is the Word. Our belt is truth. Our feet must be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. We raise our shield to protect us from the fiery darts of the wicked one. We put on our helmet of salvation (deliverance) and breastplate of righteousness.
What does this look like in reality? Sometimes it means we just stand. We don’t react when our child melts down and blames us for his hurt, for his feeling rejected. We speak the truth in love: “Man, that stinks! How does that make you feel?” And we redirect, “What do you think we could do about that?”
When we disengage our right to react, we become powerful.
And more important than any of the above, we pray a prayer for healing. Place your child’s name in the blanks:
__________is not harassed by physical symptoms or feelings or their supposed connections to past events. The curse of rejection and abandonment is broken. _____________ is a new creature with a heavenly Father who loves _________, the Stronghold is broken, and the sticky web of the past is dissolved. ___________has forgiven and _________ is forgiven. ______________is washed clean and ____________ reactions are based on the Word and the new creature that _____________is, not the old, fearful, anxious child that _______________was. NO! ____________ is a strong, assertive child of the King, a co-inheritor with Christ. ________________ has all the benefits that He has bestowed upon me. ______________is more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus.
I’ve been talking about attachment on my Whole House Lives on Facebook. Here are some of the points-
When parenting a child who has had trauma in their lives, we must consider the child’s mistaken goals and direct the child to new goals. If you want to know more about trauma, listen to our podcast– The Six Risk Factors.
Unless you pay attention to me, I am nothing. I have a place only when you are busy with me
Struggle for power
Retaliation and revenge
* From Driekurs’s Children the Challenge
A child stuck in survival mode or who has attachment issues, or both can vault like an Olympian between these mistaken goals and we parents can get stuck reacting to them.
Disciplining the unattached child is part of the package deal. We can’t attach to a child and ignore their mistaken goals. The child won’t let us. They will be our face, day and night.
Traditional Parenting Doesn’t Work with Kids From Hard Places
I have a confession to make. I tried spanking. I know, it is often viewed in harsh light nowadays. The media likes to paint a violent picture of a parent with a wide leather strap foaming at the mouth, who is angrily wailing on the child. That is not spanking in the proper sense. Spanking is a calm, cool parent with loving intentions, one who has not given into angry resentments. The parent speaks calmly to the child about the consequence. There is a purpose and a process that works with a child who has been raised in a secure environment, not for a child who has already experienced abuse and neglect.
This is not a post about spanking. I just want to point out that it didn’t work with my adopted children. It often ended up in a physical tussle. Meltdowns could end that way too if I intervened at the wrong time.
I learned the hard way and through trial and error to leave spanking behind and focus on training (more of this subject later). I just wanted to touch on this subject briefly before I move on. If someone had recorded the spankings I gave my kids with them thrashing, hitting, kicking me and my tiny frame trying to hold them down. It wasn’t pretty. It backfired. I often ended up bruised and sore from them. I am baring my soul for your sake and the sake of your children.
New Members of the Family
I’ve talked about some rudimentary basics of attachment, purpose (work) and discipline on my live last week. These are intertwined, just as our spirit, body, mind and emotions are intertwined. A child with attachment difficulties is like a new convert in the church. They have been wounded and battered by the rules of this present darkness, working through humans, wars, famines, and all sorts of evil. These children come into the family with mistaken goals, just as new converts come into the church with faulty foundations. They aren’t sure how to behave, outwardly, physically, what to think, mind and emotions and how to actually walk in the spirit, the pair of themselves they have ignored until the day they joined the family of God.
Now, they are new creatures, family members in the house of God the Father, siblings with the son of God, yet they still slide off their chairs during dinner hour and eat scraps off the floor because they don’t know how to sit at the table. They horde manna because they don’t know that Jehovah Jireh provides only for today because today has sufficient worry of its own. All of the “Praise the Lord!” lingo is strange, just as it is weird to call a man “Daddy”, it may have a different and scary meaning for a child/convert raise by a daddy who reeked of alcohol and beat them. Will this new daddy be strict? Will the child slip into retaliation mode? This rears its ugly head when a power struggle ensues. Some people because of their past controllers cannot or will not listen to any branch of authority, so they come into the church family reluctant, refusing to take any advice and chafing at any restrictions.
“In many cases the child’s erroneous ideas and mistaken goals underlying his misbehavior are so well entrenched that it may take more than a correct response to the various acts of provocation. One may have to work toward a deep reconstruction of the child’s basic assumptions, of his personality pattern.” – Children the Challenge, Rudolf Dreikurs, M.D.
The basic beliefs or assumptions must replace the child’s mistaken goals:
I am valuable even if you are not always paying attention to me. I am a son of God and therefore a sibling of Jesus, and heir to the promises of God
I am not in control of everything, neither do I need to be. God is in control and He will take care of me. I can submit to some authority and trust God is in control..
I do not need to retaliate. I can forgive and I am forgiven. I do not be in angry defensive mode. I need to be in trusting acceptance mode.
I do not need to give up on life. I have a purpose. God created me to do good works and I will do them regardless of my past circumstances. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
“For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ] the Anointed one, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with Christ).
There is [now no distinction] neither Jew, nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free there is not male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if you belong to Christ [are in Him who is Abraham’s seed], then you are Abraham’s offspring and spiritual heirs according to the promise. – Galatians 3: 27-29
This is a new way of living that says “I can’t act the way I feel like acting anymore. I can’t act impulsively. I cannot run around in survival mode and be a functioning member of a family.”
Most of us came into the family of God in survival mode, i.e., in the flesh, but born of the Spirit. Our names are written in the Lambs book of life. The adoption decree is sealed. We legally belong, but our assumptions haven’t caught up. We don’t believe it. So, we must be patient with our children who come into our families with a different set of values and beliefs. We must parent them with the tools that will lead them to feel secure.
This week on The Whole House Podcast, we talked about Parenting Against the Grain or parenting counter-culturally. Here are some notes and the podcast itself:
Attachment parenting (AP) is a parenting philosophy that proposes methods which aim to promote the attachment of mother and infant not only by maximal maternal empathy and responsiveness but also by continuous bodily closeness and touch.
Breaks in attachment cause all sorts of issues, developmental delays, learning delays, fears and lack of cause and effect thinking. A child who has had significant breaks in attachment has problems with self-regulation.
“Austrian psychoanalyst and physician Rene Spitz proposed an alternate theory. He thought that infants in institutions suffered from lack of love–that they were missing important parental relationships, which in turn was hurting or even killing them.
To test his theory, he compared a group of infants raised in isolated hospital cribs with those raised in a prison by their own incarcerated mothers. If the germs from being locked up with lots of people were the problem, both groups of infants should have done equally poorly. In fact, the hospitalized kids should have done better, given the attempts made at imposing sterile conditions. If love mattered, however, the prisoners’ kids should prevail.
Love won: 37% of the infants kept in the bleak hospital ward died, but there were no deaths at all amongst the infants raised in the prison. The incarcerated babies grew more quickly, were larger and did better in every way Spitz could measure. The orphans who managed to survive the hospital, in contrast, were more likely to contract all types of illnesses. They were scrawny and showed obvious psychological, cognitive and behavioral problems.
Spitz’s study suggested severe mortality risk–more than one in three died–for institutionalized infants. It showed that serious mental health and behavioral problems could result from not having at least one loving parent devoted to a particular child. For decades, however, this research was either ignored or dismissed by behaviorists and others who couldn’t believe that something as vague and seemingly immeasurable as parental love could matter that much.”-Forbes
Dr. Karyn Purvis- Investment Parenting takes time.
The Whole House Craft and Cookie Day! It’s today! We are making cookies and doing some Christmas 🎄 crafts! It will be loud and crazy. Lots of kids and moms and sugar! Do you do a Christmas Craft Day?
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, yeah, right? I couldn’t do this! My kids would whine, fight and that would be the end of it.
Can I tell you something? You’re probably right. Your kids may whine. Some of them may not want to do every craft or cookie. Things might go wrong. It won’t be perfect. Do it anyway.
WHAT?! Yes, do it anyway! Forming a habit of celebration means things won’t be exactly the way you picture them. It will be worth it in the long run. Every time you practice the habit of celebration, you build a memory. Every time you build a memory with your child, you are reinforcing connection.
I have had some cookie days gone wrong, so I speak from experience. I’m preaching to the Guire here. I have four boys who liked to make cookie mounds and messes on cookie days. This totally messed with perfectionist Mama until I changed my attitude. And it was hard to change my attitude. I wanted perfectly decorated cookies like you see on the Instagram accounts and Pinterest.
One year, I drove to my daughter’s house in another state and left my cookie dough at home. Everyone thought I would have tons of cookie dough, so no one else made any. Daughter Audrey ran out to get some. We used store bought that year (perfectionist me loses again). And…we had a blast!
When we remember the goal and purpose of the habit of celebration, it makes it easier to practice it. When we expect the celebration to be perfect, we are less likely to practice the habit.
The goal of celebration is time spend together, celebrating people, not things. The purpose of celebration is connection. We connect with our children, family and friends. We when participate in celebration with a light, joyful attitude, the connection grows. When we expect perfect circumstances and perfectly behaved children, we will be disappointed and our attitudes will sour (been there, done that).
Let’s build some memories this year! Plan a cookie and craft day. Don’t stress about it looking like Pinterest Perfect Posts. Make it real and fun. Practice the habit of celebration and build some memories!